The evolution of the scene in the last 6 months
The current Warcraft 3 World Cup, The Golden Championship Series, concluded Tuesday with 120 keeping his title after a breathtaking victory 3-2 in final against Infi.
Organized by Netease eight months after the 2016 GCS Series, we witnessed a major upheaval of the whole scene worldwide.
Let's analyse the tournament from its Qualifiers to its conclusion.
Three major players were missing from the roster that took part in GCS Summer season. Lawliet, WCA runner-up could not qualify. Lyn broke a bone in his hand after failing to qualify twice.
And there was Happy that declined his invitation after qualifying.
Happy did not participate :
That was a big blow for Europe. Netease tasked Neo, Hundredkg and myself to organize the Western Qualifiers and also to accompany the qualified players with their logistics.
Happy qualified easily losing only one map to Hawk. He took part in the open Qualifiers as well after declining here again the invitation for the group stage. Several good players got eliminated in the process, losing the opportunity to compete themselves in he main event.
The talent of Happy is uncontested. Lucifer explained that he is stronger than 120 in UD mirror. He reigns supreme in all the ESL Cups or Gera Cups (60% winrate in the last 40 Gcup) making those competitions a little less exciting to follow as we know in advance who is going to be the winner. Even Foggy cannot seem to find the key.
Happy explained on many interviews that he does not like travelling and going to live events. He does not feel like a professional gamer anymore but a streamer like Grubby or Wtii can be, providing entertainment. I believe that maybe he could just be indeed a streamer and not participate in cups anymore. Grubby stated that he does not like to play Cups because there is a lot of waiting time and it is no fun for viewers or himself.
Seeing Happy compete in those cups teases everybody into hoping he will play the bests in the world. He does belong at this level. The best choice would be for him to participate in Netease online events so at least the competition has some more suspense. Here the ping is the issue, as he thinks it is an unfair disadvantage and he is perfectly right. But a streamer should not really care about results.
The backlash in China when Happy renounced was hard against Europe. I left some chat group where fans were calling for Europe Qualifier cancellation for next season, calling our delegation a group of noobs that did not deserve to be there. Many fans were disappointed in Europe as well.
The admins were pained by the public criticism of their organization. Many of them are just volunteers. In China it is usual to have things clarified last minute. In the end the organization was on point as we were provided with food, a good hotel, people came to pick us up at the airport, a good training room was available... and players like Moon happily took part.
We had to do some damage control here and there and we hope that with Foggy's performance, our Qualifiers is safe for next season.
I don't get why some people (especially Chinese) think i am anyhow connected to this stuff (possibly no more EU qualifiers for Europe). I won my slot by winning it rightfully, i am dare to act as how i please regarding it. I could have done far worse - i could just say 1 day before even that i don't feel like going, good luck. Or say that i broke my leg, and can't travel, etc. Instead I just said that I am not going because i was not planning on doing it anyway (unless people will really ask me to do it by donating a lot - which never happened). Needless to say i never gathered anything and always said that i might not go either way. Also, as i said before, i will say again - their organisation is bad. I dont' care if people are just "volunteers" there or not - if you do something - do it good. I always say what i think, and will always do it this way.
Netease decided this season to organize Qualifiers per platform and not by region anymore. Europe had its own Qualifiers for this reason, and did not have to mix with Korea anymore with an unfair ping.
It all went downhill after Lyn injured his hand and forfeited the Qualifiers
This change led to a direct challenge between Koreans and Chineses : only 3 of them survived (Focus, Moon, Remind) as all the others under-performed. The last Qualifiers was particularly brutal with the four Koreans taking the bottom four places in the round of eight.
In Shanghai, the whole delegation took an early exit after 3 days. Moon lost to Fly in an heartbreaking manner, his AOW being cancelled twice by creeps on Turtle Rock...
Nightmare game for Moon on TR
Focus lost again in the group stage, once again to Romantic. He usually underperforms in live events, there might be some changes to be made in his preparation.
Each player may have their own reasons for not playing well. But in my opinion Chinese players and Foggy seemed to be better prepared, better than us. So they performed better than they usually do. And I failed to take care of my good shape before my matches : that is my fault.
Better late than early
Basic logic would be that the best players qualify at the first Qualifiers and indeed that is when the winner 120 qualified.
For the rest of the players however, it went better for those that qualified late. The three representatives of the last Asian Qualifiers all went to the playoffs : Romantic, Life and Xixi were not expected at this level of play.
My theory is that when qualifying later you are on a launching pad to the main event and keep your momentum.
Infi qualified in the 3rd one after struggling a bit for a few months now. In Shanghai he was nearly unstoppable only losing in final not without beating 120 6-4 overall during the tournament.